The location of a new deep water port for the Falkland Islands been narrowed down to three potential sites: Mare Harbour, Navy Point (north of the Camber) and Stanley harbour (FIPASS) it was confirmed at the Executive Council meeting last week following a discussion of the issue.
FIPASS, originally set up at the end of the 1982 conflict, is coming to the end of its useful life but even more significant it is proving insufficient for the growing sea traffic as fisheries, oil and tourism industries continue to expand.
Member of Legislative Assembly Dick Sawle, who has portfolio responsibility for port development, told Penguin News this week that each site would now have to be considered very carefully.
Regarding Mare Harbour he said this would be looked at in a joint operation with the military since the terminal is used by the Royal Navy and supply vessels.
He said this site would involve a number of uncertainties: “We would have to consider what to put there, what services and facilities and it calls into question the road and whether we would be creating a second conurbation - there would be the cost of developing another centre of activity, so it might not be a cheaper option”.
MLA Sawle personal opinion is that the Stanley Harbour site might be “hard pressed for the future” because of limited expansion capacity. It would bring about a great deal of increased activity in the harbour which might not be welcomed due to noise and light pollution.”
He added that the width of the Narrows that gives access to Stanley might also be a problem and dredging might be necessary, but added “maybe Stanley might be a good interim measure”.
MLA Sawle personal preference would be development of the Navy Point site. He said a road would need to be built and this would be expensive, however, such a road and the required services would open up the area for the development of Stanley.
On the “down side we would need to build a long causeway to get into deeper water”.
The Major Projects board will take the port development project forward.
The project, which will include consultation with the fishing industry and the public, had paused due to lack of funding but MLA Sawle seemed confident that funds will now be awarded. Another option, the Port Harriet site was rejected due to access problems.